When it comes to unvaccinated people, one with measles can infect from 12 to 18 others. And the measles virus is one of the most infectious diseases out there. If a person with measles is in a room and simply coughs, a person that is in the same room and it is not vaccinated, can get the virus from the droplets in the air. There is no other virus that can do that.
How it was before
If you were born before 1960, there is a possibility you have had the measles infection. Before 1963, in the US, before a vaccine was introduced, about 500 people died every year. Measles was the leading killer disease in children.
That is why you need to get vaccinated. If you have the proper doses, then you will never get sick with measles. By 2000, because of vaccination, the virus was declared “done” in the US. Outbreak became uncommon, and death from measles rarely happened.
It is true; it is not the same situation around the world – especially if we talk about low-income countries, like Vietnam or the Philippines.
How it is now
However, we deal with this problem again – especially in the US, Canada, and Europe, because people refuse to get vaccinated. In Europe, in the fast half of 2018, there were more than 41.000 cases, which is a very high record for a post-vaccine era. In 2018, in the US, there were about 17 outbreaks and 349 cases. More than 180 of the cases happened in Orthodox Jewish communities.
Right now there is an outbreak of measles in Washington, and the governor has declared a public health emergency. People are asked to go and vaccinate as soon as possible.